Monday, July 10, 2006

Meeting Ken, a bit of NY in London, Italia,enjoying Emer McCourt and a rash ban

A funny old weekend. At the RISE anti-racism festival in Finsbury Park, organized by the Mayor of London I bumped into the man himself getting orange juice for his two delightful kids, who seemed to be having the time of their lives. It's funny how people look larger than life in the media, Ken Livingstone always comes across as this dapper, vibrant, powerful figure. Yet on Saturday in his old T-shirt and jeans, slightly wearied by the sun, he just looked like another middle-aged father frazzled by his toddler children.......The festival was fun and a great day out, and coming so soon after July 7, there was no better time to celebrate the theme : London United.......

During the week, walking down Cheapside near St Paul's in the City, as the traffic poured down the street, I suddenly spotted a yellow New York cab making its way down the street. Then a second and a third. I'm not sure what it was about, but it made me (and a couple of other bystanders I suspect) execute a double take. You know the kind of feeling where you're thinking "Am I dreaming or is it real? Where am I? New York or London?" Someone thought it might be in solidarity with London over the anniversary of the 7th of July bombings.....

Then last night, the World Cup finals which I watched in a local pub- I shouted myself hoarse with the bubbly Italians that seemed to swarm all over London in their blue Azzuri shirts and the red-white -green tricolore. I wondered if there were any French living in London at all. There was one lone voice in the pub who occasionally chipped in with a brave "Allez le bleues", but he was no match for the Italian contingent who sang, danced and were generally as over the top as all the stereotypes- witness the carryings-on by the team themselves when they went up to receive the cup. I was supporting Italy for two reasons- first because of their dazzling performance in the semi-final against Germany and second because I was incensed to read that some French people were not supporting Les Bleues because they were not white enough......with that I thought, if you can't all get behind the team, then you really do not deserve to win. I did feel for the individual French players though, who played with passion. Particularly Zidane and his moment of madness and Thuram who cried like a baby when they lost and Henry stoic in defeat......Now that the World Cup and Wimbledon are both over, what will occupy our minds and conversations, at work, on the train and in the pubs?

I just finished Emer McCourt's debut novel Elvis, Jesus and Me, about two siblings growing up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. It's written in a very humorous tone and yet there are deep dark issues that she manages to explore humorously without trivializing them....

On a final note, I understand the Nigerian video censors board has banned the film The Da Vinci Code from being shown in Nigeria, which is sad and symptomatic of the closed-mindedness that seems to be sweeping across my country. A faith that cannot stand questioning, perhaps needs to be re-examined......and by banning it, the Board has only given it more prominence, painting it with the attractiveness of the forbidden

1 comment:

anthropology said...

LOL...they did what? damn...why? the stupidity...the hypocricy...the sickening morality and sanctimonity covering their rotteness...